BOULDER - The unemployment rates in Boulder and Broomfield counties dropped for the second month in a row, according to data released Friday by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Boulder County's rate dropped from 5.4 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August - one percentage point lower than the same month a year ago. The county had 172,359 people employed and 9,273 looking for work.

Broomfield County's rate dropped from 6.3 percent in July to 6.0 percent in August, also a full point lower than a year ago. Broomfield had 30,352 people employed and 1,925 looking for work.

The state's unemployment also showed improvement from a year ago, going from 8.0 percent in July to 7.0 percent in August. Colorado's rate in July was 7.1 percent. The state actually saw a decrease of 4,300 nonfarm payroll jobs. But the number of people participating in the labor force decreased by more than total employment did, accounting for the drop in the unemployment rate.

The national unemployment rate declined from 8.1 percent a year ago to 7.3 percent in August.

Statewide in Colorado, Hinsdale County in southwestern Colorado had the lowest unemployment rate for August at 3.1 percent. Neighboring Saguache County, just to the east of Hinsdale, had the highest rate at 12.4 percent.